We’re all about turning food scraps into houseplants. You already know you can grow an avocado plant from the pit and a sweet potato plant from a spud. But did you know you can grow a mango seed plant, too?
Cultivating your own mango crop is a little out of reach for most of us—especially if you don’t live in a tropical climate. Growing a little mango seed plant, however, is something anyone can do.
Getting a cute (and totally free!) houseplant of your own simply involves saving the husk-like pit the next time you polish off the sweet fruit, removing the seed, and planting it. That’s it.
How to Grow a Mango Seed Plant
1. Start with a ripe mango. If the fruit isn’t ripe, the seed may not be mature enough to grow into a plant. After eating the fruit, gently scrub the pit to remove any fruit clinging to the exterior. Then, let it dry for a day or two, at most. That way, it will be easier to cut open and get to the seed, which is housed inside.
2. Using heavy-duty scissors or shears (fabric or paper scissors probably won’t be strong enough), cut around the edges of the pit so you can pry it open to remove the seed. Be careful so you don’t cut the seed.
3. Extract the large mango seed from the pit. If it appears very shriveled or rotten, you probably won’t have much luck propagating it. In that case, try again with another mango.
4. Dampen a washcloth or paper towel and loosely wrap the seed in it. Then, place it in a sealable bag (like a Stasher bag!) and keep it in a dark, warm spot, like inside a cabinet or kitchen cupboard. Check on the seed every three days and keep the paper towel damp. (The seed will change color; this is normal.)
5. In 2 to 3 weeks, you should have a sprout coming from one end of the seed. Wait until you have an inch or two of growth before planting the sprouting seed in potting mix. Once it’s ready to plant, follow the instructions below.
Planting the Mango Seed
1. Plant the seed in potting mix. Your pot should be a few inches wider than the seed when planted flat, and have several inches of room vertically for root growth.
2. Place it in a consistently sunny location, but not in extreme, direct sunlight, as this could dry out the plant. Keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Mangoes are tropical and enjoy heat and humidity, so try to keep the plant away from cold drafts.
3. After 3 to 4 weeks, the first leaves should sprout. If they look limp, that’s okay. Unless you know you’ve done something to stress your plant out, keep following your regular routine and the leaves will begin to perk up.
4. After about a month in soil, your mango seed plant will probably be showing off some impressive leaves. It probably won’t produce its own fruit, but it sure will look cute surrounded by all your other houseplants.